October 29, 2016 Monthly Open Board Meeting
by Kathleen Leslie-Whelan
President Diane Caldwell opened the meeting with her President’s Message. She talked about doing the right thing and about knowing right from wrong. She said that people looking back might agree or disagree about the past, but we can’t live in the past. She said we must look forward to the present and that no one is promised the future. She said that improvements that were promised are now happening. She then went on to say that the performance of the Events Committee has been phenomenal and while some dwell on the negative, we offer fun times, improvements and a better way to live. She stated that the board wanted to give you the most bang for your buck and she hopes we continue on this amazing path. For that, we need to be united, not divided. She continued that the community has great things to offer and that former board members know that it is not easy to be on the board, that she has to make decisions, not have them made for her.
Treasurer’s Report: Vice President Al Leslie filled in for Treasurer Stefania Johnson who had been called to a family emergency. He reported that dues collection year to date are $798K, down 54K from the same period last year. He also reported that delinquent collections are almost $159K. Administration is $39K over budget, but discounting collections expenses reduce that figure to approximately $12K. Maintenance is less than $2K over budget and Public Safety is $7.5K under budget. The Community Center as a whole is $1K over budget, but the Bar & Grill have had a $5k cost of operation for the last month alone. He called for a special meeting to examine and discuss this situation. Finally, Al reported that the transfer of $53K from the Contingency Fund to the Reserves had been completed.
Management Report: On-site Manger Judy Kennedy reminded that all complaints should be directed to her or to Address-the-Board on the official website. Social media is not the appropriate venue. She also reported that Northeast Financial will conduct an employee meeting on their 401(k) plans followed by an enrollment period and review. An abstract company will research 70 designated properties and information is being provided to the company. Three auditing companies will be interviewed by the board to select the auditor for the next period.
Lake maintenance: Joe Gallagher of Ecological Solutions is present to address the assemblage on future maintenance.
Boat storage removal: a notice has been sent that boats may remain on storage racks this year, but beginning next year, owners will have to remove boats by a date to be announced.
Under General Maintenance: GOE has corrected name changes on dam reports but the spillway repair has not yet been addressed. The boiler portion of the CC upgrade is complete. The dehumidification system is moving forward with Button as the GC. Complicated situation with exterior pad, Desertaire System and Falcon Engineering are all involved. According to Pete Fagan of Button, work will soon commence.
The road repaving and side stoning have been completed and sealing of selected areas has begun. A proposal of $4,888 to do 5 miles of line striping has been received and will be reviewed by the board. Winter preparation, including truck maintenance and ordering of materials is underway.
The winter hours of the CC begin November 1st and will be posted on the website and in email blast. Main changes are no B&G Wednesdays, but open 1pm to 7pm (or end of afternoon football game) on Sundays.
Directors’ Comments: Whelan asked that Sunday hours be left open to allow for ending of football game which might often come after 7. Agreed.
Whelan also restated his position that monies for construction of shed to house Events Committee materials be taken from New Capital Reserves rather than Events Committee budget.
Whelan also asked for special meeting to figure out why B&G has gone from just over $100 cost of operation in April 2016 to $5K in September with an average cost of about $3.5K for intervening months.
Events Committee Co-chair Betty Goodline reported that the Cancer Awareness events raised $2,788, a record. Spoke of upcoming Halloween events (now past) and breakfast Nov. 5th. She also reminded of the Gong Show, Nov. 12th.
Maintenance Committee: Chair Ken Shuey spoke of the necessity to clean boats when transferring from one lake to another to prevent transfer of algae, etc. He requested signage at boat ramps for this. Said better landscaping needs to be done at main entrance, Estates and CC where growth obscures some signage.
F&P: Chair Earl Frank expressed several concerns. How much reserve money will be used in total for CC refurbishment? Also, if there is no dues increase, what spending adjustments must be made? He also stated that he agreed with Director Whelan’s point that new construction, such as the shed, should be paid out of New Capital Reserves. He cautioned that reserves need to be replenished and wondered how the cost of the B&G could have gotten so high.
Real Estate: Board Liaison Diane Caldwell reported that short term rentals had produced almost $61K in revenue. Committee got list of rentals from county, so we have a more accurate count. Out of 79 short term rentals we have only had problems with 4. The new software package should help generate even more money by more efficient tracking, listing, etc. Also, the county is currently re-assessing.
Special guest: Joe Gallagher of Ecological Solutions addressed the assemblage in some detail regarding lake maintenance. In brief, he said he looks for balance between plant growth, oxygen content and fish population to have a healthy system. Approximately 30 to 40 percent plant growth is necessary for balance. We have an invasive species, fanwort (cabomba) in the Southeast cove of Mountaintop Lake. He is working on a plan to contain and then eradicate this plant.
Public Comments: Member Don Atkiss spoke on a plan to build gardens favorable to migrating Monarch butterflies. Milkweed gardens can be used to attract them. The Clymer Library and Lake Naomi already have established such. Don is making his own small plot on his property. It is inexpensive, low maintenance, and the butterflies are beautiful. He favors establishing a garden near the Mountaintop Lake boat launch. The benefits include attracting the Monarchs and hummingbirds, educational opportunities for kids, and marketing Emerald Lakes as an environmentally-friendly community.
Cookie Lietwinski asked about shredding of documents mentioned in the recent Emerald Lakes Free Press article. General agreement was reached that Al Leslie is a respected and well-liked member of the community. Whatever happened with the shredding is long past and probably best left there. President Caldwell, apparently growing into her role as a politician, cautioned that you cannot believe everything you read, referring to social media and the Free Press, and taking the path of all elected officials when facing negative press. And who can blame her? As she said in her opening remarks, “We can’t live in the past.”